by Robbin Montero
The last problem you need is a mailbox filled with returned invitations due to insufficient postage!

             One of the biggest misconceptions about addressing wedding invitations is that you need to do them by hand. With the wide variety of formal script and calligraphy fonts available, it is perfectly acceptable to use a computer and top quality printer to address wedding invitations, so long as you print directly on the envelope. Please don’t use business direct mail labels on your formal invitations.


            When making your wedding guest lists for both sides of the family, ask that names and addresses be spelled out in full. Having accurate, complete information up front will streamline the process of addressing the outer envelopes. Moreover, separating each set of inner and outer envelopes will prevent time-consuming and costly mistakes.


Outer envelopes

            Outer envelopes are always addressed in a formal fashion. The address and name of state are written in full, and Zip Codes are always included. Mr., Mrs., Ms., Jr., Dr., and Esq. are the only abbreviations used. Proper name address forms for the outer envelope are:

John and Mary Smith, a married couple Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
A widowed guest, Mrs. John Smith Divorced woman using married name, Mary Smith or Ms. Mary Smith, if preferred
Separated woman, Mrs. or Ms. Mary Smith, if preferred Couple sharing residence, married or not, with different last names, alphabetically, Mr. John Smith and Ms. Mary Wells
Couple, male doctor, Dr. and Mrs. John Smith Couple, female doctor, Dr. and Mr. John Smith
Couple, military male, active or retired, Maj. and Mrs. John Smith Couple, military female, active or retired, Col. and Mr. John Smith


            Children under 18 are not listed in the address on the outer envelope, while children over the age of 18 (including those residing with their parents), get their own invitation addressed accordingly. Other adult family members living in the household should receive their own invitations.


Inner envelopes

            Addressing the inside envelope is less formal and titles of “Ms.”, “Miss”, “Mrs.” or “Mr.” are omitted. “Dr.” and military titles are used. If the person is welcome to bring a guest, the envelope should read “Mary Smith and Guest”. Children under 18 are listed under their parents’ names on the inside envelope. If you invite their children, your friends the Smiths and their two children would receive an inside envelope addressed as follows:

                                                John and Mary Smith,

                                                Susie Smith and Bobby Smith


Assembling invitations for mailing

            Slip the invitation (folded edge down) and any enclosures into the inner envelope. The tissue paper is typically discarded, but may be kept in place to prevent the ink from smudging.  Insert the unsealed inner envelope into the outer envelope face-side up (against inside of outer envelope’s flap side) so names of the guests will be visible upon opening the outer envelope.


            Including a directional card or map to the ceremony and reception is acceptable; however, bridal registry information in your invitations is considered an etiquette “no-no.” Don’t forget to place a stamp on the return “RSVP” card envelope before sealing the outer envelope.


            The flap of the outer envelope should have a printed return address. Weigh an assembled invitation to determine how much postage you will need. Unusual, large or square envelopes also require additional postage, so check with the post office. The last problem you need is a mailbox filled with returned invitations due to insufficient postage! Plan ahead if you want to add a romantic touch by using “love” stamps. The post office generally releases a new romance stamp each year, but they often sell out in preparation for June and July weddings.


            Just address, stamp, and seal with love - that's it! Family and friends will be delighted by your good news.


 “Stress Free, Leave the Details to Me,” is the tried and true philosophy of Robbin Montero, California Wine Country wedding planning expert and owner of A Dream Wedding.  Robbin is the premier wedding planner in the Northern California Wine Country, transforming any vision into the perfectly designed wedding creation. Robbin and her weddings have been featured in The Knot, Brides, Elite Magazine, Your Wedding Day and Vine Napa/Sonoma magazines, and Travel & Leisure magazine calls Robbin, “The expert wedding planner in the California Wine Country.” 

©2009 Robbin Montero


This article cannot be reprinted without Robbin Montero’s expressed written permission.


Robbin Montero is a wedding coordinator and special events planner in Northern California.

©2006 Robbin Montero
This article cannot be reprinted without Robbin Montero's expressed written permission.